Tag: Retro-Post

Retro-Post: Personal Libraries- To Go All Digital, or Not…That is the Question.

Posted November 15, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 33 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I love how we evolve as readers and book lovers. I know my reading tastes and habits have changed over the years, and I’m sure all of yours have, too. I used to hoard all print books. Whether I loved the book or hated it, I kept the print copy on my shelf. Now, I’ve culled down my print library to mainly favorites and full collections. I know Rowena has purged most of her print library in favor of expanding her digital one. I still have a lot of print books, but I’m buying/keeping fewer and fewer.

This post was originally posted on April 23, 2013


Rowena: When you’re a reader, you dream about having a library that rivals the library that the Beast presents to Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. You want to buy shelves to line the walls of your home and fill them with all of your favorite books. Then once you start building your library, you get a little thrill every time you pass by.

Soon, you fill up the shelf and then you have to buy another shelf. So you do and you fill that shelf up and pretty soon, you’ve got books coming out your ears because they’re everywhere. For a book lover, this is not a bad problem to have but what happens when you run out of space?

Ames and I were emailing back and forth when our personal libraries came up. I told Ames that I was thinking about getting rid of my print TBR pile and going all digital but haven’t actually done it yet because I’m scared.

Scared of what? I don’t really know but taking that first step to getting rid of my personal print library terrifies me.

Ames: I’m right there with you Wena. I recently purged my keeper and tbr shelves and what was left scared me…I’m running out of space! And considering one whole wall in my room is a bookshelf, that’s scary. LOL I decided right then and there that I would make the move to digital. But since then I’ve already come across a few problems. In the purge, I decided to put all my keeper books in storage until I had more space (meaning my own house haha). But lately I’ve been wanting to re-read some favorites and I can’t go digging through all those plastic tubs to look for specific books. So in some cases where the ebook was cheap, I just bought it…I want to make that switch to digital right? Right. But I can’t do that for every book.

And when it comes to new releases, my default thinking is still Chapters or Book Depository…it’s hard to really make that switch to digital. There are just so many factors involved in making that switch, that it does scare me to make that move to 100% digital.

Rowena: You bring up a good point. Purchasing all of your favorite books that you already have in print would get pretty expensive. But let’s be honest, how long have those books been sitting on those shelves? How many print books have you read in the last year? I can tell you that over 95% of the books that I read last year were all eBooks. And no matter how many times I’ve tried to participate in reading challenges to read more from my TBR pile, I fail each and every single year because I’m not reading print books anymore. That makes me sad.

Now, my TBR pile is nowhere near as huge as yours is (I’ve seen that wall of yours and am still so jealous!) but I still have so many books that I just know that I’m probably not going to read. I want to read them but I’m probably not going to so should I keep them? Send them off to better homes? My greed is getting the better of me, I know this but this is still a tough decision for me.

For me, I’m not buying print books at all anymore. I pre-order books right on my Kindle and when they come out, they get delivered straight to my device. Every other book that I get are ebooks for review through Netgalley or Edelweiss so my print book buying days are behind me. And have been behind me for the past year or two. It’s been more than a year since I’ve been to my favorite UBS too.

But I’m curious. How many print books have you read in the past year? How often have you read a book from your TBR bookshelf?

Ames: Because I’m a big nerd, I kept stats of how many books I read and in what format. I read 29 print books from my tbr pile last year. That’s like 85% e-books I read in 2012. And I can’t just keep adding to my tbr pile with print books when I’m mostly an e-book reader now. It just doesn’t make sense. But because I live in Canada, e-books aren’t the cheapest thing exactly either. So I still buy the odd print book from Walmart for example, where paperbacks are way cheaper. And this leads us into a whole other discussion about geographic restrictions. LOL But we’ll keep on topic. Sometimes it’s just cheaper for me to buy the print book. I do read from a variety of e-publishers though, so that’s one good result from looking past the big traditional publishers.

Another thing is keeping formats consistent throughout a series. I used to be bad for that and it’s a hard habit to break. But slowly and surely I’m getting closer and closer to 100% digital. If I’m working at getting digital copies of my keepers, the format issue won’t be a problem since they’ll all be e-books. One day…one day. Haha.

Rowena: So I guess the whole point to this post (there is one, we promise) is to find out how many people are still reading primarily print books. Are there any left? And when you think of the future, do you see yourself moving your personal libraries from print to digital?

Ames: I’m curious to know too, how buying digital has maybe affected your book buying habits. I mean, when it came to buying print books, I was always cheap. That’s still the same with e-books. LOL So I’ll shop around. I always look for good deals. Be it discounts or reward programs. And how many readers are now mostly digital?

Rowena: So, what’s the good word? Tell us about your personal libraries.  Are you going digital or still holding out for…something, like us?


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Retro Post: Books I Have No Desire To Read

Posted October 18, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 12 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This post was originally published December 5, 2013.

booksI saw the post over at The Book Vixen where they listed the books that they had no desire to read and realized that I have a whole lot of books that I don’t care to read either.  Popular books that a lot of people seem to love that I just have no desire to read.

Here’s my list:

  1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Holly is probably going to kill me for daring to list this book but it’s true. I have no desire to read this book. I can’t even be arsed to be ashamed…I just don’t wanna.
  2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know a lot of people from work that read and loved this book. But me? Meh. Not going to touch it.
  3. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. I know that this book features the children of Noah and Allie from The Notebook, but meh…I can’t drum up any kind of excitement to want to read it…so I know I never will.
  4. All of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. My friend Izzy tried to get me to read these books a long time ago and just as then, I still have no desire to read them. Don’t tell Izzy but even when I told her I was going to read them, I knew I wasn’t going to…they were just meh to me. I only watched the first movie too. Oh well.
  5. Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Back when I was really into this series, I wanted Styxx’s story but now that it’s out? Not interested. Not even a little interested either.
  6. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Never wanted to read it and I don’t care how many people loved it, I’m never going to read these.

What are you some books that you have no desire to read?

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Retro-Post: Book Confessions: I’m a Prude

Posted September 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 19 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: I can’t even remember what book I was talking about in this post, but the sentiment remains. I hate the selfishness of historical heroines who refuse to consider the consequences of their actions.

This post was originally posted on April 16, 2010.

Here’s a little known secret about yours truly: When it comes to historical romance novels, I’m a complete prude. I can read the dirtiest of the dirty erotica, in public, and be fine. The sexual escapades and antics of modern-day heroines from contemporary romances don’t phase me a bit. But I have a higher standard for historical heroines.

I’m all about a woman acting outside of propriety, but not at the risk of complete ruin for either herself or the other characters involved. For example:

I’m current reading a historical romance novel set during the regency period. The heroine is in love with her brother’s best friend, and has been for years. She’s been out in society for 3 seasons now, but has refused all offers because she’s holding out for her one true love. The hero is resistant to marriage in general and marriage to the heroine in particular. Plus, her older brother, the hero’s best friend, has warned him off her. Which is all perfectly fine and well, but she’s decided this season that she needs to up the stakes and make him realize he really wants to be married. To her.

So she starts touching him at inappropriate times, cornering him as often as possible for kisses and even showing up in his bedchamber in the middle of the night wearing nothing but her night rail, then trying to seduce him.

I have several issues with this.

1) The heroine thinks to herself, many times, that she’s hurting her younger sisters by not accepting a marriage proposal from someone else. Neither of them are allowed to come out until she’s wed, so as not to take attention away from her. There is even an example given of a younger sister garnering more attention than the older one, so we as the reader can understand what a travesty this would be.

(As an aside, I found this fascinating. Generally in regency set historicals more than one sister is out at a time. I love that this author has taken a different approach here.)

Now, I understand the heroine wants to marry for love. I truly do. And I want her to. But her next youngest sister’s debut has already been delayed one season because of her actions. Since the hero has heretofore shown zero interest in her, I wonder at what point will she have to give it up and move on? Or will she continue to pine for him indefinitely, leaving her younger sisters to wither away as well?

2) If the heroine is compromised, she’ll be ruining her sisters’ chances as well. Any scandal that touches her touches her family, so there’s a double whammy where her sisters are concerned.

3) If there heroine is caught in a compromising position with the hero, he’ll be forced to marry her. Although it’s early in the book yet for me, I’m going to assume she doesn’t want to force him – she wants him to realize he loves her, too, and propose on his own.

Yet she doesn’t consider the consequences of her being in his bedchamber – in her house, by the way – in the middle of the night. She doesn’t think about her reputation or what the hero’s feelings will be if he’s forced into marrying her. Wouldn’t it upset all her plans to make him fall in love with her if he’s forced against his will?

Although I’m talking about a particular book above, this is something that bothers me 99% of the time in historical romances. Heroines who seduce – or are seduced by – the hero because they “love him” make me want to bash my head against the wall. I realize these novels are fiction, but what would happen to a young woman during the regency era if she were compromised? The total ruin of her reputation wouldn’t only reflect badly on her, but on her family as well. Younger siblings wouldn’t have a chance of gaining a decent marriage and the scandal could follow them for the rest of their lives. While it may sound romantic to be willing to risk all for love, the practicalities of the scenario make me want to scream.

Am I alone here?

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Retro Post: Are You A Glommer?

Posted July 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions, Reviews | 14 Comments

Holly: It’s been 9 years since I originally posted this. I still glom authors, but now I do it digitally. I’ve culled my print collection down to just old favorites. What about you?

This post was originally published May 22, 2008

Work has been kicking my butt lately, so I haven’t had time to write up reviews or post witty, thoughtful topics, so instead I’m recycling an old one.

From dictionary.com:

glom·ming, noun Slang.
–verb (used with object)
1. to steal.
2. to catch or grab.
3. to look at.
4. a look or glimpse.
—Verb phrase
5. glom onto, to take hold or possession of

I admit I’m a glommer. When I find an author I enjoy, I immediately start working on collecting his/her backlist. I believe the first romance author I glommed was Judith McNaught, followed by Lisa Kleypas. From there it blew up into a crazy, scary, awful thing that has now overwhelmed my life. I’m currently in the process of glomming Karen Templeton.

I even glom authors I don’t read anymore. Like Jude Deveraux. I stopped reading her years ago, but I’m still compelled to buy each and every one of her new releases. And you know, I have her ENTIRE BACKLIST. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve told myself to sell the lot of them on eBay and be done with it? Too many to count. Do you know how many times I’ve actually done it? None. And still, I keep buying her books as they’re released, because I’m OCD and have to have them all on my shelf.

Probably I need help..but let’s move on to you…

Do you glom? What authors? Do you remember your first? Are you OCD like me and collect books long after you’ve stopped reading an author? Or do you not keep any?

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Retro Post: Fifty Shades of Grey is Not Romance

Posted June 21, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 20 Comments

Retro Post: Fifty Shades of Grey is Not Romance

I (Casee) love this post. I have these books in my TBR pile. This is the second time this post has been reposted, but I feel that it is deserving. This post was originally posted in 2012 (when the books were published) and again in 2015 (when the movies were released).

It seems everyone is talking about Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Whether you read it or didn’t, loved it or hated it, I bet you’ve either talked about it with someone or read about it somewhere. Maybe you only heard the title mentioned and know nothing else about it. Or maybe you’ve read it 18 times and can recite it line-by-line. Whatever the case, it’s out there.

First, let’s just get this out of the way: I read all three of these books in a day and a half. As soon as I finished the first one, I bought the second. Likewise with the third. I paid $9.99 PER BOOK for digital copies. It’s possible I was drunk at the time (or should have been). Especially while reading the third. That was just a big ball of WTF rolled up in 500-something pages.

There’s been a lot of criticism on many fronts for this trilogy. I’m not going to touch on the fanfic aspects, because frankly I know nothing about fanfic and I’d only come off sounding like a moron (if you’re interested, author Kate Davies posted an interesting piece about fanfic and Dear Author did an entire series about it) . I’m also not going to address the “mommy porn” label that’s been ascribed to these books. The term makes my head want to explode and I have too much to live for. I will say that “mommy porn” is insulting and it makes me want to punch someone in the junk (because I’m sure a man came up with that).

I would like to address two misconceptions that bother me greatly about this series.

This is a romance novel.

I disagree. While there are many similarities, what keeps this from being a romance in my book is the nature of the relationship between Christian and Ana, the main protagonists. Yes, it has many of the same tropes we find in romance: Billionaire, Tortured Alpha Hero becomes intrigued with Virginal, Malleable Heroine. She thinks she can save him and he only wants her for sex – but then becomes intrigued by her and decides he wants to keep her. On his terms, of course. Which she, naturally, doesn’t agree to. Much angst ensues. Until finally, Happily Ever After (complete with rainbows and unicorns a meadow full of wildflowers and mention of tasting breastmilk).

I know what you’re saying to yourself. You’re saying OMFG what do you MEAN tasting breastmilk??? “Gee, Holly, this sounds an awful lot like a romance novel to me.” And yes, I know on the surface it seems that way. But the truth is, at its core, this is a book about a sad, troubled man who tends toward being abusive and the woman who enables him in being this way.

After reading this trilogy I wanted to write a post titled Why Stalking Is Not OK. Actually, I still kind of want to write that post. But for now I’ll just say it here. Stalking Is Not OK.

I know some novels in recent years have glorified stalking. Most notably for me – probably because it’s marketed to young adults – is the Twilight franchise. But Edward sneaking into Bella’s room to watch her sleep without her knowing was nothing compared to this.

Let me outline a few examples for you.

A. Ana drunk dials Christian one night and he freaks out over the fact that she’s drunk and demands to know where she is. She hangs up on him. 15 minutes later he shows up at the bar. When questioned, he reveals he tracked her cell phone to find out where she was.

“How did you find me?”

“I tracked your cell phone, Anastasia.”

Oh, of course he did. How is that possible? Is it legal? Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind. (Grey p.57)

B.  Christian sends Ana gifts to and drives her home.  Only, she never mentioned where she lives, so how did he know?

“He pulls up outside my duplex. I belatedly realize he’s not asked me where I live – yet he knows. But then he sent the books, of course he knows where I live. What able, cell-phone-tracking, helicopter-owning stalker wouldn’t.” (Grey p.74)

C. He returns unexpectedly from a trip because she meets a friend for a drink instead of going straight home. Yes, he actually cancels a business trip because she met a friend. He specifically told her to go home and when she didn’t, he rushed home to spank scold her.

D. Despite having only known him for a few weeks, he knows her social security and bank account numbers. And he accesses them without her permission.

Now, Ana does call Christian out for his behavior. But she does it in a way that says she doesn’t think it’s a very big deal. Personally I would have stabbed him in the throat called the cops the very first time he said he used my cell phone to track my whereabouts 5 days after I met him. But that’s just me. Ana sort of laughs off most of the things he does. If she does become angry and points it out to him, he apologizes and she forgives him. And then he does it again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

As I was reading, I kept wondering in what world it’s ok to do the things he did. Were we, the readers, supposed to accept his behavior because Ana did? Or perhaps I was supposed to accept his behavior because he was just a sad little boy on the inside? One who was “Fifty shades of fucked-up” from the emotional and physical abuse he suffered as a child? Because that doesn’t work for me. Honestly, that just freaks me out even more. An unbalanced, self-proclaimed “fucked-up” guy is stalking me at my place of work, knows every detail about my life and follows me around town without my knowledge or permission? I don’t laugh it off and say “now, now, be a good boy”. I run screaming in the opposite direction.

This is a healthy, loving relationship.

No. This is a sad, destructive, abusive relationship. Over the course of the three novels it becomes slightly less destructive and abusive, but only slightly. When I finished the third book I did so with a heavy heart and a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, they are eminently readable. But they’re also depressing as hell.

The mind games and emotional bullying Christian indulges in to get his way; The fact that Ana seems more like a victim suffering from Stockholm Syndrome than a woman in a healthy, loving relationship. These are textbook signs of an abusive relationship. Cutting her off from her friends unless he’s with her or can control the environment she meets with them in, following her on a trip to see her mother even though she expressly asked for time alone to digest things, having her followed and spied on, buying her a computer and a Blackberry and a car, so he can get in touch with her whenever he wants, ordering for her and steamrolling her when she complains:

“Two glasses of the Pinot Grigio,” Christian says with a voice of authority. I purse my lips, exasperated.

“What?” he snaps.

“I wanted a Diet Coke,” I whisper.

His gray eyes narrow and he shakes his head.

“The Pinot Grigio here’s a decent wine. It will go well with the meal, whatever we get,” he says patiently.

“Whatever we get?”

“Yes.” He smiles his dazzling head-cocked-to-one-side smile, and my stomach pole vaults over my spleen. I can’t help but reflect his glorious smile back at him.

These are not signs of a healthy relationship. That Ana tolerated this behavior – and even excused it, or worse, came to enjoy it – does not make it okay.

I think the worst part, however, is the way he casually dismisses her feelings. Especially in the beginning when it comes to being a submissive. The first time he spanks her, she’s very upset afterward. She tells him she felt demeaned and abused. His response?

So you felt demeaned, debased, abused & assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement, if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this: Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

And naturally, she’s thrilled he thinks of himself as hers, and brushes aside the fact that he’s told her to get over her feelings and let him humiliate and debase her.

As the series continues, Ana learns to stand up for herself a bit more and Christian learns to give in to her occasionally – oh wait, no. That didn’t actually happen. The author told us that’s what happened, but the actions of the characters didn’t change a whit.  Christian still ordered Ana about, cutting her off from her friends and managing her life whether she liked it or not. And she let him.

This does not a romance novel make.

Are these books very readable? Yes. Are they enjoyable? I would say no, but I think that depends on the individual person reading them. Are they romance novels? Not even a little bit.

Fifty Shades of Grey is not a romance.

*I made some minor editorial changes to the revised post

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